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Posted February 22, 2010 in Firm News by Michael Lonich.

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February 22, 2010
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Property Division in Divorce

Posted February 17, 2010 in Family Law by Julia Lemon.

Dividing up personal property during a divorce can be difficult, as different items may be especially unique or useful or may have sentimental value to one or both spouses.  Celebrity Kate Walsh and her husband, Alex Young, devised an ingenious scheme to ensure that each received an equal share of the community furniture and artwork and each received items important to him or her.  They agreed that each would take turns picking items, with the “winner” of a coin toss having the right to pick first.

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20342085,00.html?xid=rss-topheadlines&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+people%2Fheadlines+%28PEOPLE.com%3A+Top+Headlines%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

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Save The Date!

Posted February 10, 2010 in Firm News by Michael Lonich.

Join Lonich and Patton, LLP at the  Succession Planning Seminar: Leveraging a Legacy on April 29th, 2010.  This is an event for owners and executives of successful, family owned or closely held, businesses who are trying to efficiently guide their company to greater success today. Gain a lot of useful information by attending this prestigious event including;

  • 6 practical steps to increase the success, sustainability, productivity and value of your business.
  • Discover how you can effectively plan, strategize and utilize your resources to thrive in this current economic climate.
  • Learn how to set up the company for an eventual transition.
  • Learn how all the pieces fit together (tax, legal, financial, banking) to create the ultimate succession plan.

We look forward to seeing you there!  For more information please visit the event website at sjbusinessforum.com

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MARRIAGE, INC.: The Financial Partnership Between Spouses

Posted February 8, 2010 in Family Law by Gina Policastri.

When it comes to finances, California law treats spouses just like business partners.  In fact, provisions of the California Corporations Code addressing the duties between business partners are incorporated right into the California Family Code.  For example, Family Code 721(b), states that marriage is a “[confidential and fiduciary relationship] subject to the same rights and duties of nonmarital business partners” including an obligation between spouses to provide equal access to all information, records, and books that pertain to the value and character of those assets and debts.  These duties and obligations exist between spouses while they are married and continue through the divorce proceedings and until the date on which all assets or liabilities are actually distributed.  Further, these duties obligate both spouses to provide information even if the other spouse does not ask for it.  Remedies for failure to abide by the disclosure requirements include attorney’s fees as well as an award to the other spouse of 100% of an asset that is undisclosed.

The Fourth Appellate District was recently called upon to visit these disclosure obligations in the case of Marriage of Feldman (2007) 153 Cal. App. 4th 1470.  There, husband failed to disclose several financial transactions during the divorce proceedings, including the purchase of a home and $1 million bond, and the existence of a 401(k) and several other investments.  Wife sought attorneys’ fees and sanctions and was awarded $140,000 in fees and sanctions in the amount of $250,000.  The Appellate Court affirmed.

While the Feldman decision caught the attention of the family law bar and judges alike, this was not the first time a California court upheld a sanctions award based on the failure to disclose.  In Marriage of Rossi (2001) 90 Cal. App. 4th 34, the Court of Appeal affirmed an award of 100% of $1.33 million in lottery winnings, which wife actively concealed during the proceedings, to Husband based on a finding that the concealment constituted fraud and came within the penalty provisions of the disclosure statutes.

The lesson to be learned by Feldman and Rossi is simple:  disclose, disclose, disclose!

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Announcement!

Posted February 1, 2010 in Family Law, Firm News by Michael Lonich.

Gina N. Policastri is the newest member of the firm to pass the Family Law Legal Specialization exam in her quest to become certified as a Family Law Specialist* by the State Bar of California. In addition passing the written exam covering California Family Law, Gina must also:

  • Have substantial litigation experience in the field of Family Law
  • Complete State Bar approved legal education requirements applicable to the family law field; and
  • Be favorably evaluated by judges and other attorneys concerning her knowledge, ability and experience in the practice of Family Law

Gina is currently working toward completing these rigorous requirements as part of the application process.

Join us in congratulating Gina in passing the written exam in her pursuit of excellence!

Certified Family Law Specialist, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization

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